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M. Meenachi Muppidathi v/s The Government of India, Representing by The Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi & Another

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    W.P. (MD) No. 13188 of 2020

    Decided On, 01 October 2020

    At, Before the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court


    For the Petitioner: K. Vijayanand, Advocate. For the Respondents: M. Ashok Kumar, Senior Central Government Standing Counsel.

Judgment Text

(Prayer: Writ Petition is filed under Article 226 of the Constitution ofIndia to issue a Writ of Mandamus, directing the respondent to consider and dispose the petitioner (reminder) representation dated 12.09.2020 relating with transfer of Freedom Fighter's pension received by petitioner's husband to the petitioner as Freedom Fighter's Family Pension to the dependant.)(Through Video Conferencing)1. The prayer sought for in this writ petition is for a writ of mandamus, directing the respondents to consider and dispose the petitioner (reminder) representation dated 12.09.2020 relating with transfer of Freedom Fighter's pension received by petitioner's husband to the petitioner as Freedom Fighter's Family Pension to the dependant.2. It is a pathetic case, where the petitioner, at her advanced age of 75 plus, widow of a freedom fighter, has approached this Court for the relief stated above. Her husband one Muppidathi a freedom fighter and therefore, the Central Government under Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme had granted pension to the said freedom fighter i.e., the husband of the petitioner from 26.04.2010 at the rate of Rs.6,330/- per month vide P.P.O.No.MHAFF1200877. While so, on 20.03.2013, the petitioner's husband at the age of 89 died.3. After the demise of the freedom fighter, who was the pensioner also under the said scheme, as per the extant rule, dependant pension has to be given to the petitioner being the widow of the freedom fighter and accordingly, in January 2017, the petitioner made an application to the respondents along with documents such as, freedom fighter pension account book for P.P.O.No.MHAFF1200877 dated 04.10.2012, death certificate of the petitioner's husband dated 29.05.2013. On receipt of these documents with the application of the petitioner for making or transferring the pension towards the petitioner for dependant pension, the first respondent vide his proceedings dated 21.03.2017 has addressed to the Senior Accounts Officer, Pay and Account Office (P&M), Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi with the following:“Subject: Transfer of family pension in the name of Smt.Meenachiyammal Muppidathi PPONo. MHAFF1200877 – regarding. Sir,I am directed to refer to your letter No.PAO/P&M/MHA/ FF-334 /2010/1038-39 dated 03.02.2017 on the subject mentioned above and to that on going through all the papers sent by you with your said letter, it is noticed that the letter No.nil dated nil of Smt.Meenachiyammal Muppidathy, W/o. Late Shri R.S.Muppidathi is not attached therewith.2. It is, therefore, requested that a copy the same may please be provided to this Ministry at the earliest, for taking necessary action.Yours faithfully,(Pawan Mehta)Under Secretary to the Government of India”4. Thereafter, a communication had also been sent on 06.06.2017 to the petitioner, which reads thus: “Madam,I am directed to refer to this Ministry's endorsement of even number dated 21st March, 2017 (copy enclosed) on the subject mentioned above forwarding therewith copies of proforma of Annexure – VI & VII of this Ministry's guidelines with the request that duly filled in Annexures be furnished to this Ministry at the earliest. But no response has since been received from you in this regard. A copy each of Annexures – IV, VI & VII of this Ministry's guideline is again forwarded to you for doing the needful.2. You are, therefore, requested to complete the formalities for transfer of dependent family in your name, as required under this Ministry's guidelines and provide the Original PPO of your late husband viz. Shri R.S.Muppidathi, requisite information in Annexures – IV, VI & VII and copy of 1st page of your Bank pass-book indicating the BSR Code, duly attested by the Branch Manager. These documents may please be furnished to this Ministry at the earliest for taking necessary action.Encl:- As aboveYours faithfully, (Brajesh Kumar Singh)Under Secretary to the Government of India”5. In response to the said communication from the 1st respondent, the petitioner, on 14.08.2017 sent the following request with necessary documents. ”TAMIL”4. Death Certificate Xerox (Rs.S.Muppidathi) 5.Tamil Nadu Government Gazette Xerox (Meenachi) 6.Legal heirs certificate Xerox 7.R.S.Muppidathi SBI Passbook Xerox 8.Meenachi SBI Passbook Xerox attested by Bank Manager 9.Copy of your letter 10.Pension Book in original 11.Annexure IV 12.Annexure VI 13.Annexure VII 14.Life Certificate Xerox”6. Thereafter, again, on 27.09.2017, the 1st respondent sent another communication to the petitioner, which reads thus:Madam,Please refer to your letter dated Nil on the above subject vide which you have forwarded Original PPO, Bank Pass book copy (attested by Chief Manager) and Annexure IV, VI & VII. In this regard following deficiencies have been observed: 7/16 W.P.(MD)No.13188 of 2020(i) Annexure IV does not bear your photograph(ii) Annexure VI has not been attested(iii) Annexure VII is not as per format.2. In view of the above deficiencies blank copies of all the Annexures-IV, VI and VII have been enclosed for getting duly attested for further processing of your case.Encl:- As above Yours faithfully, (Brajesh Kumar Singh)Under Secretary to the Government of India7. In response to the same, on 07.01.2020, the petitioner sent the following:“TAMIL”1 .Aadhar Card Xerox2. Family Card Xerox3. Voter ID Xerox4. Death Certificate Xerox (Rs.S.Muppidathi)5. Tamil Nadu Government Gazette Xerox (Meenachi)6. Life Certificate Xerox7. Legal heirs certificate Xerox8. R.S.Muppidathi SBI Passbook Xerox9. Meenachi SBI Passbook Xerox10. Annexure IV11. Annexure VI12. Annexure VII”8. Along with the same, application for transfer of pension to widow/daughter to be submitted in duplicate in the format has also been sent by the petitioner by pasting her photograph and other particulars, that was on 09.01.2020. Thereafter also, since the request of the petitioner has not been considered, she has sent a reminder on 05.09.2020 to the 1st respondent. Even, that has not yielded any result, so far, hence the petitioner is before this Court.9. I have heard the learned Senior Central Government Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents, who would submit that, in view of the aforesaid facts, since there has been so many correspondences between the respondents and the petitioner and ultimately, the petitioner seems to have given the particulars sought for by the 1st respondent for sanctioning the dependant freedom fighter's pension to the petitioner, the request of the petitioner would be considered and accordingly, necessary orders would be passed within a time frame that may be stipulated by this Court.10. I have considered the said submissions made by both the learned counsel for the parties, especially, the learned Senior Central Government standing counsel and have perused the materials placed before this Court.11. In this case, it is not the first time, the freedom fighter concerned asking the pension. Already, the husband of the petitioner, who was the freedom fighter was receiving freedom fighter pension under the scheme from 2010 onwards and due to his age at 89, he died in the year 2013. Thereafter, the petitioner, being an old lady, could not move forward and that is the reason why, it seems that, she made request only in the year 2017.12. Be that as it may, once a request has come in the year 2017 from a widow of the freedom fighter at her advanced age for getting dependent pension, the authorities could have acted so swiftly. However, several correspondences taken place between the authorities concerned as well as between the authorities and the petitioner and ultimately, all those format applications, documents etc. as sought for by the respondents, especially, the 1st respondent since have been submitted or filed by the petitioner, even after those developments, for several months, no action seems to have been taken by the 1st respondent.13. In this context, it is also to be noted that, the petitioner virtually does not have any other source for her livelihood as her husband, who was the freedom fighter pensioner, also died in the year 2013. Therefore, more than seven years, the petitioner has been surviving with great difficulty and all these seven years, the petitioner's only job is making efforts to get the dependant pension for the petitioner.14. In number of cases, law Courts have passed several orders directing the authorities to deal with freedom fighter pension issues by acting quickly, so that, the benefit extended by the Government under the scheme by providing pension in recognition of the service rendered by the freedom fighter to the Nation, could be realised by the freedom fighters and their dependants/spouses.15. In this context, in the present case, no other requirement is necessary, except to verify whether, the petitioner is the widow and dependant of the freedom fighter, who was already sanctioned pension and so far receiving till his last breath in the year 2013.16. When that being so, this kind of long delay of seven years could have been avoided by the respondents, but, that has not happened in the case of the petitioner. Fortunately, the petitioner is still surviving to see the light of the day in getting dependant pension for the struggle undertaken and the service rendered by her late husband to the Nation during freedom struggle.17. Therefore, this Court in the aforesaid circumstances, is inclined to pass the following order:“that the respondents, especially, the 1st respondent shall consider the petitioner's request/application in format along with all documents made by the petitioner right from 2017 and last such representati

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on dated 07.01.2020 and reminder dated 05.09.2020 and accordingly pass necessary orders sanctioning the Freedom Fighter's dependant pension (family pension) for the petitioner under Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme , under which, the petitioner's husband has already been sanctioned pension from 26.04.2020 in P.P.O.No.MHAFF1200877, which he received till his last breath i.e., on 20.03.2013 and accordingly, sanction the dependent pension to the petitioner with arrears from 20.03.2013 and shall continue to pay the dependant pension to the petitioner till her life time. The aforesaid needful shall be undertaken by the respondents, especially, the 1st respondent within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and communicate the same to the petitioner ensuring that the petitioner is getting the arrears of dependent pension from 2013 till date and also continuously till her life time.”18. Accordingly, this writ petition is disposed of with the aforesaid direction. No costs.19. Post the matter on 04.12.2020 for reporting compliance.